by U.S. Polo Correspondent Alex Webbe

White Birch (Joaquin Panelo, Julian de Luzarreta, Matias Magrini and Peter Brant) used a smothering defense that held Heathcote (Steve Lefkowitz, Naco Taverna, Tommy Biddle and Nick Manifold) to just three goals as they rolled on to a 9-6 win over Heathcote to win the East Coast Open at the Greenwich Polo Club.

Heathcote received three goals by handicap from the 20-goal White Birch team and watched as Joaquin Panelo scored the only two goals of the opening chukker. Heathcote continued to lead due to the three goals they received by handicap, 3-2. White Birch scored three consecutive goals in the second chukker, tying and then moving ahead of Heathcote, 5-3 on a pair of goals from Matias Magrini and Panelo’s third goal of the game. Tommy Biddle closed out the chukker with Heathcote’s first goal from the field. White Birch took the lead, 5-4. Both defenses showed up in the third chukker. Following a number of unsuccessful runs at goal by both teams, the score remained at 5-4 in favor of White Birch to end the first half of play.

Once again, there was little give by either side in the fourth chukker. Biddle converted a penalty shot for a Heathcote goal that tied it at 5-5 as time ran out in the period. Biddle’s second penalty goal of the game gave Heathcote a brief 6-5 advantage. Magrini tied it once again with his third goal of the day. After five chukkers of play it was all even at 6-6. White Birch took control of the game in the sixth. Panelo opened the scoring with a goal from the field followed by a penalty conversion for a goal from Magrini for an 8-6 lead. Magrini scored the final goal of the game for the 9-6 win.

Magrini scored five goals and was named MVP. Panelo supplied the other four goals in the win. Biddle scored three goals (two on penalty shots) and Heathcote received three goals by handicap. Peter Brant’s Open Fiesta received Best Playing Pony honors.

AIRSTREAM 12, CINQUE TERRE 10
Airstream (Peter Orthwein, Kris Kampsen, Guille Aguero and Mariano Gonzalez) overcame an early 5-1 deficit to score a 12-10 win over Cinque Terre (Alessandro Bazzoni, Gringo Colombres, Joao Ganon and Brandon Phillips) in the final game in East Coast Open competition Wednesday afternoon.

Cinque Terre received one goal by handicap and added three quick goals from Brandon Phillips, Gringo Colombres and Joao Canon (60-yard penalty conversion) before Guille Aguero responded with a goal from Airstream to cut the lead to three goals, 4-1. Colombres scored the final goal of the match for a 5-1 Cinque Terre lead. Kris Kampsen scored his first goal of the day to open the second chukker followed by a pair of goals from Aguero. Shutout defense kept Cinque Terre off of the scoreboard in the second period as Airstream cut the lead to a single goal, 5-4. A second consecutive period of shutout defense by Airstream and a pair of goals from Kampsen ended the first half with Cinque Terre trailing at the end of the first half, 6-5.

Colombres tied it up for Cinque Terre, 6-6, to open the fourth chukker. Kampsen put Airstream back in the lead with a goal from the field. Phillips scored on a penalty shot to knot it up once again at 7-7. Kampsen converted a foul shot from 40-yards to end the period with Airstream on top of an 8-7 score. Cinque Terre’s Brazilian 7-goaler, Joao Ganon, tied it at 8-8 with the opening goal of the fifth chukker, but consecutive penalty goals from Kampsen gave the lead back to Airstream, 10-8. Aguero capped it off with the closing goal of the chukker for an 11-8 advantage and one period left to play. Colombres scored the first goal of the sixth, 11-9, but Airstream was ready. A goal from Aguero restored Airstream’s three goal lead, 12-9. Ganon scored the final goal of the game but found Cinque Terre on the losing end of a 12-10 score.

Kampsen led all scoring with seven goals (three on penalty shots). Aguero scored five times and was named MVP. Kampsen’s eight-year-old Bay mare Snooki received Best Playing Pony honors. Colombres scored four times for Cinque Terre. Ganon added three goals and Phillips was credited with two goals in the loss.